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Volvo Ocean race: Camper tries two more hulls in Lorient    
Sat, 23 Jun 2012

Multihulls can polarise sailors. It used to be you were either into them or you weren’t.

That however is now changing and with multihulls moving into the mainstream they are very much at the forefront of competitive sailing.

If France is the spiritual home of multihulls then Lorient must be its beating heart with the likes of Banque Populaire, Groupama 3, and many other famous multihulls based out of the port.

While in Lorient Camper skipper Chris Nicholson and a number of other Volvo sailors took up the offer of Groupama skipper Frank Cammas to go sailing on his Jules Verne winning trimaran Groupama 3.

At over 100 feet Groupama 3 has won the Jules Verne Trophy for the fastest circumnavigation of the world, held the trans-Atlantic record for 2 years and remains one of the fastest ocean-going yachts in the world.

For Nico the opportunity to have a ride aboard the green speed machine in near perfect conditions of 20 knots breeze was too good to miss.

'You’d think we would have had enough of sailing, but to get the opportunity to go sailing on a legendary boat like Groupama 3 is just incredible.

'I’ve done plenty of cat sailing before but this is the first time I’ve been out on a tri so it’s pretty cool.

'They’re impressive machines and it’s certainly the easiest 30 knots I’ve ever done in my sailing life.

'It’s unbelievable really how effortlessly the boat does big numbers.

'You do 30 knots on Volvo Open 70 and your hair is on fire versus 30 knots on this where everything is calm and sedate. It makes a nice change!

'It’s nice just to sit back and watch how the hulls perform under some pretty big loads. There was a decent seaway out there and I was really impressed with the way the boat handled it.

'I think I’d want to spend a few more months sailing on one of them before I’d make the call to sail around the world in one, but there’s no doubt that multis are the exiting high performance part of the sport at the moment.

'It certainly excites me so who knows where I might end up in the future.'

by Hamish Hooper

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